May 10, 2013
Drivers and homeowners may feel some rumblings along Route 250 at the McIntire Road intersection the next couple weeks.
Crews are blasting away rock to put in a sewer line along the new Meadow Creek Parkway. The sticks are dynamite are placed 20 feet underground, then crews layer heavy rubber on top to prevent debris from flying out.
The sewer trench needs to be six feet wide and 600 feet long.
Crews put warning signs along McIntire Road and Route 250 on Friday telling about the blasting zone. Another sign asks drivers to turn off their cell phones. Sometimes phone signals can interfere with the blasting signal.
But blasting supervisor Claude Finneyfrock says phones will not cause problems with this operation. The signs are just a precaution.
The city is reaching out to neighbors and businesses near the blasting site to let them know about the operation. They also offered inspections to check for any damage. Recently residents near the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Airport complained that blasting at the airport was causing cracks in their homes. Finneyfrock says that's not likely in this case.
"The magnitude of the blasting that we're doing here is minute compared to what they're doing at the airport," said Finneyfrock.
Monticello Area Community Action Agency, or MACAA, had inspectors come earlier this week.
"They spent the whole day here inspecting inside and outside all the buildings," said Gary Nickelsen, the COO of MACAA.
The organization is the home to Charlottesville Head Start students, and the Elk Hill School. Nickelsen says the teachers are using the blasting as a teaching opportunity.
"See if they can hear the blasting and then they can explain what it's all about," said Nickelsen.
A couple of the students say the explosion caught them by surprise.
"It made horn noises," said Amir Harris, an eighth grader at Elk Hill. "Then was just like, 'Boom!'"
"We were sitting down," said Corey Johnson, another eighth grader at the school. "So we felt it in our bodies. We were shaking like it was an earthquake."
The blasting will continue for two weeks at least. The intersection is shut down during each explosion to make sure there are no cars within a few hundred feet of the blasts.